Monday, June 26, 2017

The Horse is Safe

hello everyone

Another great week being a missionary! Definitely the best and most important work in the world. I’m thankful for these experiences every day that have really helped me become a happier person!

Right now I want to talk about my friend Elder Arninio. In our apartment right now we have three Americans and one Filipino. Elder Arninio is one of the funniest people I’ve met.. I’d compare him to Elder Panugao (the one who thought he was Kobe) in my first area. He always just has random funny things to say I love talking with him. He sometimes tries to speak English and it sounds like he’s Nephi because all of his English comes from the Book of Mormon! The other night he received a revelation as he was sleeping. He woke up, wrote it on the whiteboard, then fell back asleep.. Haha we all look at the whiteboard the next morning and it says “Soul to eternal perfection.” None of us knows what it means but now we love saying it all the time haha!

Tuesday we drove President Ostler, Sister Ostler, and Caleb to the airport for their last flight to Palawan. It was really nice to talk with them. They’ve been amazing examples and it’s pretty sad they’re leaving soon. I still don’t even feel like they’re leaving because they’re so focused and things seem the exact same. A funny thing that happened though was on the Skyway (kinda like a freeway.) They have toll stops there where you have to pay and we always try to speak as many dialects to the people in the booths as possible haha. Elder Webster rolled down the window and said something in just normal Tagalog and the girl in there made this weird squeal sound out of surprise and said “ayy tagalog!!” As she handed back a receipt she wouldn’t let go of it! It was sooo funny because the Ostlers were in the back! I made fun of him the whole ride back after dropping them off:)

You know those big umbrellas our mission got that I talked about? I have another story with those haha. It was dumping on us as we were in the area and we saw a huge group of kids walking home from school. We started talking to them and they were super fun haha. 6 of them fit under my umbrella because it’s so big and we just talked as we walked to an appointment. Some relief society members saw us walking with like 20 kids around us and were laughing super hard at us.

Thursday I got a call from a guy from the Provo MTC! He was following up on referrals which I guess is something they’re going to do every two weeks now! The mission department I guess is looking to make the referral database more effective. They had some good ideas for us to do in our mission and it will be kinda exciting here. Referrals are just hard for the missionaries to keep updated here because service is soo bad even in the office and pretty inconvenient out in the areas. It will be fun to see improvements though!

Two other random experiences.. First, I met a 25 year old guy from Taiwan on P day! He is here to teach tech stuff to everyone for free. He wants to help the kids here he was super nice. It was cool to see Elder Cheney’s people they seem really awesome. We could’ve used him for speaking Chinese to this guy haha. Lastly, I’ve decided to randomly roll down Elder Webster’s passenger window and crank up the motab while driving past people haha! They look over at him like he’s crazy and I hold the switch down so he just has to endure!

Eric is continuing to progress and grow. He got super sick last week and ended up relapsing. He’s still trying his best though. He read 2 Nephi 31 which was awesome for him to read. He said it not only hit him in the face left and right, but also up and down haha. He would read a verse he highlighted (2 nephi 31:8 or 2 Nephi 32:4 for example) then say “yeahhh that’s for me!” He said reading the chapter actually made him no longer scared for baptism, but rather happier and more excited for it. I’m glad he continues to read. Right now he’s our only investigator consistent with reading. It’s sooo important even though it’s actually a pretty small thing. My patience has been tested a little more especially this past week. We talked to hundreds of people but didn’t get 1 new investigator!! And it keeps happening for some reason, more than every before in my mission. It’s rough haha! I know though that I’m learning a lot as a result and I trust God will put those who need His help in our path. I’ve learned that even when we don’t understand His way, we can always trust that things will work out for our benefit. What we go through at times as missionaries is nothing compared to those before us, it’s hard to even complain if you have the right perspective.

The more Eric is learning more about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ works, the happier he’s becoming. He is realizing that he can become clean from every mistake he’s ever had. I too am thankful for that. I’m thankful that through Him we may continue to be forgiven, to change, and to become more like Him. I read the other day in Mark and for some reason  stood out to me. It’s cool to think that such a small mustard seed can turn into something so amazing. Through hard work and constantly replenishing the seed it can grow into something completely different than what it was before. That seed is like our hearts. We are so weak but through the Atonement and constant diligence we can change and become strong. Our hearts can be changed and our desires to focus on others rather than ourselves and to follow God’s law will increase. Not only is this amazing for us, but it can also affect others. I’m thankful for those in my life who have continually applied principles of Christ’s gospel to their lives. It has helped me so much and I’m hoping I can continue to grow myself!

Anyways that’s all from me! Hope you have a good one.
 Elder Reber

ps. The horse has made its trip from Des Moines to Makati successfully🤔 Good times await.
Apparently the smolder has to come back out when referring to Parkers friends from home! Parkers friends got this tin horse and sent it with Elder Christensen to San Salvador, he was the first of the boys headed out for a mission. It has since gone to Iowa and now to the Philippines. It has many more stops to make throughout the world and would have quite the story to tell with all it's adventures. So grateful for a group of the best boys for Park to grow up with!  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Smokey Mountain

Happy father’s day yesterday to all the dads!! I love my dad. I’m really thankful for you dad and all you do for our family. Hopefully you got to go play some golf or drill some really nice teeth or something fun this week. You and mom are the most selfless people I know.

This week was transfer week! Ah it’s always so crazy but we survived. Lots of funny adventures. We had a really good batch of missionaries head home so it was kinda sad seeing them leave. Two of them were in the office in the past and we pranked them with mayonnaise as we said our last good byes. There’s a little spot next to the office that gives you “real mayonnaise” with your hot dog but nobody puts it on so the stash just builds up over time. It’s a long time office joke hiding it in suitcases, stitching it into pants, etc. We totally “naized” them real good this week!

Transfer day was a pretty normal transfer day. We got up at 4:30 and picked up new missionaries. Eventually that day we had to make our way to the city of manila to help situate some mattresses in some apartments. Traffic was pretty bad but we enjoyed blasting “The Lamb of God” as always J That night we had lots of extra missionaries in the house and I was up all night because it was sooo hot and I gave my fan away haha. Luckily I have a crazy itch right now on my arms and neck so that helped me sleep lots better. J

We got to the area a few times but not much has changed there. The best thing there was learning Eric hasn’t had a drink for 13 days! He actually got super sick though later on in the week and he jokingly says it’s because he doesn’t have his alcohol. We won’t be able to teach him until hopefully this Thursday so we’ll see if he’s still staying strong with word of wisdom!

We met a guy from South Africa coming back from the Area Office! I haven’t seen a sweet black guy with dreads and headphones for the longest time haha! I also haven’t started meeting someone by saying “what’s up!?” for awhile either. I had to talk to him. He took off his headphones with a huge smile and we talked for awhile on the side of the street. I told him I did my 6th grade country project on South Africa and he thought that was super cool. He was just soo nice. We found out his sister in South Africa is actually a Latter Day Saint and we invited him to go to the international ward. Also we met a random guy from Utah! He wanted to buy us dinner but we had just eaten!

P day we had one of my favorite activities in my mission! We met with the assistants and started off the day eating Mang Inasal for breakfast. My rice game is still strong even though we don’t eat it quite as much in this area. After that we hopped in the car and headed across the mission to TONDO! We went to a spot right outside of my first area called Smokey Mountain. It’s basically a HUGE mountain that is actually a trash pile. Over time the trash has decomposed and over time grass and trees have started growing on it. Now it actually just looks like a mountain with lots of trash under the layer of dirt but it’s crazy to think that trash was piled up to make a mountain that big. After that we walked through Happyland in my first area because it’s the craziest spot in our mission and the assistants wanted to check it out haha. We actually found a less active there and referred her to missionaries there. After that we returned to the office and went to Burger King. It was a great day!!

On Sunday we pulled the classic nightmare of every missionary and forgot to have food prepared to cook on Sunday. All we ate were snacks but luckily we found pancake mix in the cupboard so we cooked up pancakes in our rice cooker haha! Funny times.

I love being a missionary. There was a great talk in sacrament about how you spend your time determines the type of person you become. If you want to be good at basketball, then you should be playing every day. The stake young men’s president then went on to remind us of the importance of making sure we’re choosing to give enough time to scriptures and service. Doing things like those will make us become more Christlike and happier in our lives. The earlier you start, the better!

Have a great week!
love elder Reber

Not sure what this pose is, but apparently it is a "thing"

Just another chef moment

On the way to Tondo and Smokey Mountain

I found this pic online. It is amazing to imagine this mountain is made up of trash!
View on Smokey Mountain

A friend from high school got to go pick her Elder up from Parkers mission. So fun to receive this pic from her. Great job Elder Roberts-we will miss your letters! Thanks for the great pic Brenda!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Area Broadcast

Hello family and friends!

How’s it goin? Happy summer! It’s funny because dry season just ended here and rainy season is starting. Basically the opposite is happening as far as weather goes! The other night I turned my fan on the medium level for the first time in a looong time.

Funny story about the rainy season. Every missionary in the mission got a new huge umbrella last zone conference from the Ostlers that have wording talking about eternal families. They’re actually for Christmas haha but everything is late here in the Philippines. Anyways a few weeks they were stored in the supply room for awhile and we had to climb over them anytime we were trying to get something. Sure enough the one time we need umbrellas in quite some time we don’t have them with us haha! We walked across all of Makati for about 30 minutes just getting wrecked! Streets turn into rivers haha. It totally poured on us and even though we’ve been around umbrellas for weeks, we didn’t have one when needed. Pretty ironic.

We’re still doing our best to get more investigators. We had quite a few appointments this week that fell through but we still got to teach some new people. We taught three moms with a member named Ed and they all had good questions! They asked why there are so many churches and we had a really good talk about Christ’s church, the apostasy, and the restoration. One then asked how we can really know a restoration happened and we went right into the Book of Mormon. It was fun having a lesson where they understood really well.

Eric is still doing good. He is in 2 Nephi 24! He rereads each verse like 3 times haha he has read over an hour every day for the past few weeks. He still hasn’t been to church which was disappointing! We thought this week was going to be the week. We asked him though what changes he has seen in his life since he has started reading and he said “lots!” The main thing though was that he doesn’t drink nearly as much now. He said the desire to buy alcohol has somehow left him. I’ve noticed his prayers have been super awesome lately too! Even if he’s not going to church yet I’m really thankful we’ve been able to help him out. We are his best friends he said and he looks forward to our two visits each week.

Sunday we had an area broadcast! We got to listen to lots of authorities, including Elder Bednar! He started off by saying “I’m so much grateful for this opportunity to speak with you.” Back when he visited the Philippines (including here in the manila mission) he noticed the term “so much grateful” is a term lots of members/missionaries use here when praying! Somewhat because their English isn’t perfect and they’re trying their best in front of an apostle of God. It’s a phrase I’ve now heard many times in zone conferences and other meetings. But the phrase “so much thankful” is a phrase that really kinda shows how the people are here. Although they don’t have much, they count their many blessings and are willing to give anything to a stranger. I’m super lucky to be serving in such an awesome country with such great people. I’ve learned so much about gratitude on my mission and feel really happy and blessed every day. I know that our attitude will make our day better, not our circumstances. I challenge you all to follow Christ’s perfect example of being humble and loving, no matter what challenges come your way.

Love you all!
Elder Reber

Monday, June 5, 2017

Zone Conferences


This week was filled with lots of little miracles! We had zone conferences which is a super busy time for my companion. I end up having to help him cover lots of stuff so I get behind too haha. It’s just a crazy week as far as office stuff. One of the nights we were up with the assistants doing stuff until about 10:45 haha. It’s not against the rules for us to be late if our reason makes sense. But we tried to make the most of all the opportunities we had to talk to people. Tuesday we were going to different stores buying all of their cardboard, pins, glue, etc for the new maps that were handed out in zone conferences. After 3 stores we had all we needed! But one of the stores I was waiting for Elder Webster to buy all the stuff so I started talking with a security guard. Turns out he wants to share messages about God to those around him. I guess he’s actually been looking for a way to share and he’s been wanting to talk to missionaries like us. We talked about what we believe in and some things that make this church different. By the end he said he wanted to work with missionaries!! Too bad he’s in a different area haha but they went and visited him last Saturday. Hopefully he accepts the message. It was kinda small but it was cool to see God put someone in our path. It’s just important for us to always have courage to talk to everyone around us!

Wednesday we were able to sit down and be a part of zone conference. It was a great conference! The focus was family history and how we can better use it in the work. President helped me really realize how important missionary work is. He reminded us that we as missionaries aren’t alone. There have been millions before us who have also sacrificed a little for the gospel’s sake. We, just like them, are capable of overcoming any challenge that might come our way. Our ancestors and our future children pray for us every day. Not only that, our investigators’ ancestors and possible future children are doing the same! Not to mention the millions of prayers from members, prophets, families, friends, and others on this side of the veil. It was a cool reminder. I realized that all of us here on earth are in the middle. There are so many that have come before us and so many to come that rely on how we decide to live our lives. If we are faithful while here on earth, thousands who follow us may benefit and see blessings in their lives as a result. If we are diligent in family history work, we can show our gratitude to those who came before us and suffered for our blessed lives. In my head I imagine us standing in the middle of a huge football stadium with lots of people cheering us on. Just one baptism could affect so many people now that I’ve stepped back and thought of it more. Sometimes we forget how important our time here on earth is!

Thursday we went to MLC. My companion Elder Webster taught a class about BCR’s (baptism confirmation record) and totally roasted everyone there haha. He’s a super funny guy. He has dealt with BCR problems for quite some time now.. he even has dreams of putting them into the system haha. He talked about how other missions are probably getting more new missionaries because they fill out their BCRs correctly and as a result, it looks like they’re getting new baptisms. A person can be baptized but isn’t actually a member until his/her record is put in the church. Funny way to think of it haha! I’ve realized taking time to do things correctly and being organized really will save lots of time. Something I wasn’t super awesome at before my mission I feel like haha. Still workin on it too ;)

I also talked with Elder Niutupuivaha, my last zone leader and “kabahay.” He told me Gerry is being baptized!! I don’t know if you remember him, but we met him two weeks before I left Palawan. I was so pumped hearing the news!!

Another funny miracle was at Burger King! They have one here kinda by the office, it’s the best! We sat down at our table and I looked over and caught eye contact with this guy at the table next to us. I said “kamusta!” and he responded in broken English “hi elder! Where are you from?” I said “taga Utah kami!” He then jumped in and told us how his life was saved by a tall white guy from Utah when he was younger. “I was Mormon awhile back.” In my head I was thinking.. come on man you’re still Mormon! Anyways apparently he was suicidal but a Mormon missionary came right in time and helped him find hope. He now hasn’t been to church for three years. I decided to ask where he was from so I asked him in Tagalog. He then said “what?” so I repeated. He didn’t understand two more times then he looked over at his wife kinda frazzled. His wife bursted out laughing super hard. The man was JAPANESE! I had no idea hahaha. I’ve never had that happen to me in the mission yet, it was really embarrassing! Even though it wasn’t my best OYM in my life, we were still able to encourage a less active to return to church. He kinda avoided giving us his address or number which was too bad but it was again cool to see an opportunity come to lift someone up.

Last little cool experience. We were heading to a new potential investigator’s house. We had met him earlier in the week. Elder Webster has the area perfectly memorized since he’s been here nearly a year. But we accidentally went straight instead of turning onto a little road. We then walked another minute or so and he said, “wait, why did we keep going straight?” As we went to turn around I saw a big pile of gravel to the side of the street. I realized it was an area we had been to once a few weeks ago. Somehow I remembered that it was close to an old family they used to try to teach months ago. I said “wait that one family lives around here right? Let’s go stop by.” This family had started hiding in the past and just wasn’t really all that interested. We went over by their small cement room and sure enough the dad, mom, and both their kids were there! They let us right in (which had never happened so easily!) We found out that the mom and one of the kids had just returned a few days ago from a vacation in a spot in my last area in Palawan! She was so excited because I knew all the little places she talked about! Apparently she was born in Santa Monica, Palawan. In a barangay we’d go to nearly every day called Siksiksan. We have an appointment this Friday to head on back!

We talked to around 200+ new people this week but didn’t get any new investigators. Even though we didn’t get any new, we got a lot of potential investigators that we will try to visit next week with the appointments they scheduled with us. I’ve just seen a lot in my mission that a person ready to hear the message comes at the end of a long day of hard work, or at the very last person you try to talk to. There might only be 1 person who is willing to listen out of a couple hundred. It’s like hundreds of cups upside down, but only one cup has candy under it. Sometimes the only way to find the candy is to flip every single cup! The same principle I feel goes with lots of things in life. Challenge yourself to go a little further and try a little more each day!
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

Love you guys!
Elder Reber
Zone Conference

President and Sister Ostler will be leaving in a few weeks. How grateful we are for all of their hard work and especially the  love they have shown to our favorite Elder. He has had an outstanding example to learn so much from. 

One of these things is not like the other.... Notice the large pic is one with Park!

So grateful for a program where we are able to send packages that safely get to Park. Sending a little love from home is our favorite!

Parker tried to explain the heat there during our Mother's Day call. He said you just could not comprehend it without being there. Fans are definitely their friends! He just bought this new fan. It's called "tough mama" :)